Richard Midgley, Chairman, MDGA ExCom, looks back on the progress that our portfolios have made during another highly charged and difficult year.
Waterways and ZPAAC
As your Marina neighbours and community volunteers, my colleagues on the MDGA ExCom share your deep concerns about the crisis on our waterways. We continue to receive regular feedback from residents expressing their frustration and anger at the current state of affairs. In response, we will continue to exert whatever pressure and influence we can to ensure that key decision makers in the City of Cape Town (CoCT) take our concerns seriously and – more importantly – act on them as matter of urgency.
It is worth restating that the MDGA has no control over the way our waterways are managed. Instead, we remain very closely involved with the Zandvlei Protected Areas Advisory Committee (ZPAAC), which is the only body with a legal mandate to advise the CoCT on the state of the vlei and champion its interests to the people with real power.
These people include members of the CoCT’s Mayoral Committee (Mayco), whom we engage intensively through regular and robust correspondence. Among other objectives, the purpose of this correspondence is to keep the new appointees in all relevant departments fully abreast of the issues that affect us while pressurising them to resolve the most urgent problems, such as sewerage spills and the Kingfisher weed harvester.
Communication with our members continues to improve in leaps and bounds through Facebook and our weekly email newsletter as well as our website and blog. The growth of our advertising revenues testifies to the quality and popularity of these channels. So does the positive feedback and compliments our Communications team receives.
Those who were present at this year’s very well attended children’s Christmas party can vouch for how popular the event was among kids and parents alike. The MDGA’s traditional carols, held the day after the party, was equally well attended. It was pleasing to see that three of the food tucks taking part in The Bridge Fair sold out. The band was amazing and the carols were a treat. One of the evening’s most memorable highlights was the high number of children who took part and the way they sang their hearts out. It was a superbly organised evening and combining The Bridge Fair and the carols proved to be an inspired move.
We are incredibly lucky to have world-class skills in this portfolio, ably supported by the highly competent professionals on our Architectural Committee (Archcom). The Marina is benefiting hugely from their combined strengths as they address all infrastructure-related-issues as well as issues linked to our waterways.
Their professionalism particularly evident when we were putting together our response to the Vrygrond housing proposals at short notice. They also played an instrumental role when it came to the plans for a cellphone tower in Eastlake Island. Once again, the informal poll we conducted on this matter was informed by the actual issue – zoning. Because the proposed tower would have extended 3m above existing structures, the developer was obliged to seek the MDGA’s consent.
Once again, Infrastructure and Archcom provided invaluable advice.
Archcom is in the final stages of updating our design manual. We will be able to start sharing it with members early in the New Year in preparation for an AGM vote around June. Applying its solid planning and zoning skills, Archcom will continue to provide essential guidance on infrastructure issues.
Parks & Gardens
We have almost a year’s experience under our collective belt of working with our four wonderful gardening ladies – Andie Pycroft, Koemi Rowe, Tina Roberts and Silvia Stringer – along with Staffa Hussein and his equally wonderful gardening team. Together, we have learnt, we have persevered and we are succeeding in helping to beautify the Marina’s three islands. We anticipate further advances in the coming year.
As previously reported, we have now completed the perimeter security project and we are satisfied that by changing our licence plate recognition (LPR) monitoring company and installing additional cameras, the Marina is a safer place. Our crime statistics testify to this.
We have worked hard to act more quickly and more responsively to standards complaints. This continuing effort has produced some early results, which are evident to our members. Standards has always been a thorny issue. Despite our strict confidentiality rules, there is always a risk of setting one neighbour against another. Unfortunately, this sometimes deters members from reporting transgressions.
Our Treasurer, Tharwa Davids, is taking over more responsibilities as her heavy workload allows. She has brought a welcome new perspective to many areas of the MDGA’s work.
We trust that the two members of our office team, Marcia Fritz and Robbie Johnston, will enjoy a relaxing and healthy holiday as we look forward to seeing them back at work on 10 January 2022. For now, a huge vote of thanks for their tireless patience and hard work on behalf of all members.
Throughout the year, recovering unpaid subscriptions was a high priority list and we are proud of the results we have achieved. But we cannot afford to relax. We are now following up with members who have not paid their 2021 subscriptions so that we can start the new accounting year in March 2022 with the cleanest possible book.
With another challenging year behind us, it’s time to pay tribute to my colleagues on the MDGA ExCom. They continue to show amazing talent and commitment when putting together highly professional and insightful reports and solutions for tackling the issues that impact on our members’ lives.
I would like to wish them and everyone else in the Marina a healthy and happy festive holiday.